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91-Car Field Set for Revamped Nürburgring 24 Qualifiers

30-car field in top SP9 category headlines the entry for revamped N24 Qualifiers event…

Photo: N24

A total of 91 cars including 30 entered in the top SP9 class are set to contest this weekend’s Nürburgring 24 Qualifiers, which are being held under a new two-race format.

Rather than consisting of a single six-hour race, the annual dress rehearsal event for the Nürburgring 24 will involve separate three-hour races on Saturday and Sunday.

The final grid for the N24 be determined by the results of qualifying during the main event on May 28-29.

The field of 30 GT3 cars in the top SP9 category includes teams running cars from Audi, BMW, Mercedes-AMG, Porsche, Aston Martin, Ferrari and Lamborghini.

Of note, defending N24 winner Manthey Racing is absent because of its need to focus on the clashing FIA World Endurance Championship round this weekend, according to a team spokesperson.

Audi, BMW and Mercedes-AMG are equally represented by seven cars with varying numbers of factory-supported crews, while half a dozen Porsche 911 GT3 Rs are listed.

The challenge from non-German brands includes TF Sport’s Aston Martin Vantage GT3 which has Valentin Hasse-Clot and Charlie Eastwood standing in for fellow works drivers Nicki Thiim, Marco Sorensen, David Pittard and Maxime Martin who will tackle the N24.

Konrad Motorsport is running the sole Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo and Octane 126 is the only team running a Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo 2020.

As announced two weeks ago, the two Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo IIs with extended factory support are being run by Car Collection and Phoenix Racing.

Christopher Haase and Patric Niederhauser will suit up for Car Collection at the Qualifiers and are due to be joined by Rene Rast and Nico Mueller for the N24.

Both Rast and Mueller are at Spa this weekend for the WEC race. The same goes for Robin Frijns, who is absent from the Audi Sport Team Phoenix crew of Kelvin van der Linde, Dries Vanthoor and Frederic Vervisch.

The other Audi entries are the two-car privateer efforts from Phoenix and Lionspeed by Car Collection, as well as a single R8 LMS GT3 Evo II from Equipe Vitesse.

Mercedes-AMG has a total of four factory-supported cars on the grid, split evenly between GetSpeed Performance and Haupt Racing Team.

Maximilian Goetz, Adam Christodoulou and Fabian Schiller are sharing the No. 3 GetSpeed Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo while Maro Engel, Jules Gounon and Daniel Juncadella team up in the sister No. 4 car.

HRT’s Bilstein-backed stable includes the No. 6 car for Hubert Haupt, Lucas Auer, Philip Ellis and Nico Bastian, along with the No. 12 lineup of Raffaele Marciello, Manuel Metzger and Luca Stolz.

CP Racing, Schnitzelalm Racing and Landgraf Motorsport are the independent Mercedes-AMG entrants in SP9.

Among the highlights in the Porsche camp is the combination of Julien Andlauer, Matt Campbell and Mathieu Jaminet driving for Toksport WRT; the latter two drivers will arrive at the Nürburgring off the back of an IMSA GTD Pro class victory last weekend.

Nick Tandy and Earl Bamber, who won the 24 Hours of Le Mans together with Porsche in 2015, form part of KCMG’s lineup alongside Josh Burdon and Dennis Olsen.  

Falken Motorsports has selected Sven Mueller, Jaxon Evans, Patrick Pilet and Marco Seefried for its No. 33 Porsche entry, with the No. 44 crew consisting of Klaus Bachler, Lars Kern, Alessio Picariello and Martin Ragginger.

Dinamic Motorsport and Huber Motorsport are also representing Porsche at the Qualifiers.

LMP3 ace Niklas Kruetten is a member of Schubert Motorsport’s BMW M4 GT3 crew and will share the wheel with Alexander Sims, Jens Klingmann and Jesse Krohn.

The two ROWE Racing BMW lineups are unchanged since the manufacturer’s N24 entry announcement in March. The Motorsport Competence Group-run outfit won the most recent NLS race courtesy of Augusto Farfus and Connor De Phillippi.

The BMW Junior Team finished second in that NLS round and is back for the Qualifiers, while the other three M4s signed up are independent cars from Walkenhorst Motorsport.

In addition to the SP9 runners, Glickenhaus Racing is fielding its SCG 004C in the SP-X category with Thomas Mutch, Felipe Fernandez Laser, Richard Westbrook and Franck Mailleux driving.

Other notable items on the entry list include reigning Le Mans GTE-Pro class winner Come Ledogar driving a GT4-spec Porsche Cayman in the AT class, two-time IMSA GTD champion Christina Nielsen in an all-female crew for the Giti Tire Motorsport by WS Racing BMW M4 GT4, and a two-car factory TCR entry for Hyundai Motorsport split between an Elantra and an i30 N.

A pair of two-hour qualifying sessions for each race will be held on Friday. On the same day, a Top 30 qualifying session will determine the leading rows for Race 1.

The grid for Race 2 will be decided by a combination of the Friday qualifying result and a 30 Top Qualifying on Sunday morning.

The opening race is due to start at 6:30 p.m. CEST (12:30 p.m. ET) on Saturday, with the second race scheduled for 2 p.m. (8 a.m. ET).

Porsche squad Frikadelli Racing Team claimed a one-two result in last year’s qualifying race before fellow Porsche team Manthey Racing went on to prevail in the N24.

Daniel Lloyd is a UK-based reporter for Sportscar365, covering the FIA World Endurance Championship, Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, among other series.

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